Nowhere in the bible does it say we're to come together in small groups and insulate ourselves from the outer world. Yet, every community has church organizations that do just that.
I'm so passionate about this issue, that I actually have a book deal in the negotiation stages to cover this very subject. While I've only lain the groundwork for the book so far, every week or so I come across something new to add in, some fresh angle that further backs the point of view that churches were never meant to behave with a closed hand.
If your church isn't actively putting a vast effort into seeking and saving, then I submit to you that your church is dysfunctional.
Along those lines, is today's devotional from Pastor Bayless Conley.
The Vital Sign of Passion to Reach the Lost
One of the major signs that someone needs to be revived is a lack of concern for the lost. In David's psalm of repentance, Psalm 51:10-13, he says,
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.
When David says, Renew a steadfast spirit in me…Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, he is saying, "God, revive me, restore me, renew me." One of the fruits we find in a heart that has been revived is a desire to see others converted. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.
When a person's spiritual life wanes, there is very little thought and very little action aimed at reaching the lost. Yet, someone who has been revived and is spiritually healthy will be actively engaged in the evangelization of the lost.
Read carefully these words from Elton Trueblood, a Quaker scholar. He said, "Evangelism occurs when Christians are so ignited by their contact with Christ that they in turn set other fires. It is easy to determine when something is aflame. It ignites other material. Any fire that does not spread will eventually go out."
When you are spiritually revived, you will think about the spiritual state of the people that you rub shoulders with every day. It is inevitable that when your heart is revived and close to God, you will have a concern for the lost.
Do 'average size' churches, that don't seek growth simply think they've done enough? My evangelism professor spoke of a church that interviewed him to lead their church into a new era. He laid out his plans for reaching lost people and growing their church and in turn, they responded by telling him they wanted him to remain in his office during business hours so he could address the concerns of the existing congregation. They didn't have time to seek & save, they were too wrapped up in their own problems.
I'd submit that their problem was the inward focus. While introspection and healing are necessary, they should never be the end game. If they are, the game is over.
If this describes your church, I pray God will convict you to either effect change or remove your family and find a new place of worship that actively spreads the Word. God blessed us to be a blessing to others and his blessings are as numerous as the stars; so too should be the people we all seek to bless.
There are a few people we're close to who exist in churches such as the type I describe and they actively defend the insular behavior. These churches sit in large metro areas with hundreds of thousands of lost souls within a 30 minute drive, yet these churches are content to exist mainly for themselves and to worship God. All I can think of when I hear them talk is they've done what so many other churches have done and bought into a lie from the deceiver.
I remember reading once that faith is like an escalator, if you're not actively moving up, your heading down - there is no standing still.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, - Matthew 28:19
Jesus tells us to go forth and make disciples. He doesn't command us to go huddle in a building and sing Kumbayah while people lose their lives all around us.
...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20
"obey everything I have commanded you" means to go forth and make disciples. How much clearer does it need to be?
If you think you can't do it, you're listening to the lies of the enemy. If you think your church can't do it, the same applies. Once we accept Christ, we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us which is not bound by the enemy, unless we let it be so. Don't let it be.
I beg you, go forth and be fishers of men. God gives us so much and asks so little in return. How can we not obey?